February 23rd 1977
Theresa mentioned at their home that Joe was up for jury duty, and was going to try to track down where Dad's father was buried, when he was at the county building. Figured if he did that, I could do what I could, and maybe together it could be found.
Feb. 28, 1977
Called Madigan at County Home; has old records but said to call Wayne Herrick who used to work with Burton Miner.
Feb. 28, 1977
Phoned home of Paul Nelson, 77 North Erie St. Mayville, NY 753-2763, who was listed as Legislator Dist. #9 according to a 1973 Buffalo Evening News Almanac Aular had in his office. Aular remembers the name as people who formerly owned a store where he got “the best cheese" around, as they aged it in the store before selling it. Marie Nelson talked to me. Husband no longer legislator, since the county changed form of government. Gave me instructions as to how to get to the farm.
During day called Wayne Herrick 753-4439 to see who would have any map. Said Tom Madigan would have it with the old records.
Called Tom Madigan back; made an appointment to go to the Infirmary at Fredonia-Dunkirk (Temple Road) and he would let me see the old records; not too many marked on outside; would like me to use them but be very careful. Told him I did not plan on “rummaging thru" but would use them carefully.
I was looking for a map; did not know in what form--rolled up or book form. Without it, we figured we wouldn't be able to figure out spot he was buried in. Later, figured out we spent too much time looking for map, especially after finding the number in the undertaker's book; but still figured we should see a map .
Back to top
March 1, 1977
Dad Ark was 14 when his father died in Dewittville, NY Home and Infirmary. Claims he was only there about a week or so. He had to take a train, with written instructions given to him by Fr. O'Connor as to what he wanted, and had to use a ferry and met a gentleman who read the note and knew what he wanted, to see his father; man took him for a meal, and said he had visited Dad's father at the home, but did not know him before that. His father said I knew my son would find me no matter where I was, and several days later he died.
Mr. Genco, a friend of the family, advised Grandma Ark she should use what money she had for her family, and not to volunteer any money for burial. Evidently no stone was used to mark the grave.
Dad tried to locate the grave years later, but being a Sunday, no one was in the office. Pete claims he tried, but there was no office force. He found a pasture where the grave sites used to be, and was informed there was a fire some years ago.
Mr. Aular got the name of a Mr. Nelson from the Buffalo Evening News Almanac for 1973, as Town of Chautauqua official;) when I called I talked to his wife Marie, who called the night after (March 1, 1977) and said she found a Mrs. Leet who had a neighbor who was just admitted to the hospital the night before, who might know something about burial plots near the Home.
She said there is a small cemetery for Dewittville and one near the Home site, where Mrs. Leet said her children have seen, but she never has. At the corner of town, turn left; the next road down are two pillars, and the road crosses a creek.
Cross a field, and behind the horse barn at the right is where the cemetery used to be. She would like to go there with me when the weather clears. Said it is pretty "wild" out there and would not advise going alone.
Marie Nelson called. There is a small cemetery besides the regular one in Dewittville. At corner of town, turn left; next road down are two pillars. Road crosses a creek toward farm.
Believes the cemetery was behind the horse barn, and have to go across a field. Mrs. Leet’s kids have been there; pretty well grown over, but she has never seen it. Mrs. Leet’s neighbor Mr. Johnson might know, but night before had been taken to the hospital with rupture. She would like to go to the cemetery with me after the weather clears up. Would like me to keep her informed of my progress. Told her I was going to call Mrs. Smith, (Mary) the Chaut. Town Clerk 753-7342, who she said would know about burial files, according to Mr. Nelson. There was a fire sometime ago and he also remembers part of the cemetery may have been washed out. Alan Leet died, but he would have known a lot about it, since he either worked there or lived close by. Mrs. Nelson’s mother also worked in the kitchen there at one time.
Talked to Pete - said couldn't find anything when he went to find it for Grandma Ark.
March 8, 1977
Called Mary Smith, 753-7342, Chaut. Town Clerk. Found record of Sam Ark and a nondescript word after it like someone couldn't read what was written. Showed July 30,1913 like we thought; died at Dewittville, age about 47, born Italy, and unable to give information. Shows gangarene of both feet. Sent her $2.00 for copy of death certificate.
March 3, 1977
Aular had met Wayne Herrick who told him any map or records would be at the new Infirmary.
Back to top
In hospital; could not make 9th appt. at Infirmary, but on 11th received cert. copy of death certificate together with extra copy, which we later gave to Mom and Dad on March 26th before going to Mayville w/them .
Wed. March 16, 1977
1st book I picked up, 4th shelf, right, a small book on page 12 was a Ledger, January 1, 1912 thru September 22, 1924.
July 20 showed Sam Ark age 44
Died July 30-1913 No.114
Hanover, Silver Creek
all entries according to date.
Most books showed nationality as "nativity". All books of assorted sizes and types. Not too much on outside of books to indicate what was inside; all put on shelves in not too much order; just a storage cabinet.
Some ledgers showed medication given, disbursements of the farm, information on youngsters "indentured" to others, information on admission to farm and where they went when they left.
One ledger showed name of person committed, date, what town he was from, by whom committed, or paid boarder and by whom, and sent to what institution & place.
i.e. Gerry Orphanage, The Society for Protection of Destitute children, Buffalo, NY
Craig Colony, Songer, New York for
Syracuse Institute for Feeble Minded
One ledger had dates 18__ but 1900's information. Second in line on bottom-shelf, right hand side, even had a paper clip on the page with Grandpa Ark's name on it when I opened it.
This book used an Index; but name did not appear. Looked thru, found name (Arcadipane) and Sam Ark, Record number 1072, date of admission. June ? 1913, Hanover, "was here two weeks before his death. Buried in County Home Cemetery."
Book was "Record of Almhouse Inmates, under Act. Chapter 225, of the Laws of 1896" on top of each sheet.
Also under that was Jennie Ark, number 1073, June ? 1913 Hanover "Wife of Sams came to stay with him and help in any care for him. She left after his death."
1071 was admitted July 18,1913
1072 Sam Ark
1073 Jennie Ark
1074 admitted July 23,1913 so June must have been in error.
March 17, 1977
Dad said his father used to wear high leather boots, complained they were too tight. Grandma Ark did not want anyone to come to take him to the hospital, so evidently they must have had a doctor see him. At one time he was in a hospital in Irving; no window glass in windows. Do not know nature of illness at that time. Dad said he visited him there. Fr. O’Connor had a brother who was associated with Father Baker's Home, and arranged to have the three girls, Rose, 2 yr. old Jessie and Mary to go there; do not know at what time that was, but Grandma then went to Dewittville with Grandpa
and stayed there. Records show "she left after his death" but in another ledger it shows she left on July 28, 1913, two days before his death.
Dad visited there just before he died, using a note given him by Fr. O'Connor as to where he was to go. Went by train and then by horse and cart, and finally by ferry. One of the men knew his father; said he had visited him at the Farm.
Dad remembers his father being buried near the barn; do not know if he saw him before burying or not, or if there was any church service at the Farm.
On advice from Genco and others, she did not provide a head stone; had the county bury him.
March 23, 1977
Made appointment with Nickerson.
Back to top
Noon, March 26, 1977
Went with Mom and Dad Ark to Dewittville, met Ernest Nickerson. Asked him re: lot 114 in Dewittville cemetery; side of road; said he did own that at one time; coincidence the same number we were looking for in the Farm lot.
After the county sold property, it was owned by Nutall Assoc. and a Greek Orthodox Church who he believed removed the stones. He used it as a cow pasture and sold part to Greensleeves. Some burials were on the other side of the barn. Showed Bern area, and also was going to show him the stones removed and put in barn, but they were gone.
Showed us cemetery area. We found a stone and thought it was an isolated case; found others, all in rows, covered by vines, etc. Found 115 but was near 369. 105 was near 203. As Bern figured, stones must have been used as they came up, burial all in rows, but stones put on flat on grave, with random numbers. Without map won't be able to determine where 114 actually is unless we keep unearthing stones. When we got to the area I asked Dad if it was this far back when he was there in 1913 for the burial, and he said it was. Box was transported by horse and carriage. It was further "beyond the barn" than I supposed from his description before.
Nickerson showed Bern "small houses" Dad talked of; all torn down, rubble still there. Said they were used for people who might be "contamined"; we figure maybe suspected t.b. for instance.
In cemetery plot, found surveyor's mark 9 or 6; Bern also found surveyor's markers indicating end of cemetery.
One area had a place where someone had dug down about a foot, like a grave, but not far enough down to unearth anything, Two shovels and a hay fork left there; Nickerson identified them as tools from the barn; must have been kids doing it. We used the fork to hear where stones located; Dad also had a bar. Vines covering it had to be removed: if we return too much later the stuff will be growing again and very hard to work in.
March 27, 1977
Dad and Mom Ark have been to the farm before and on one occasion left two plants at the Dewittville cemetery near the road when they confronted a fence that was electrified; the cemetery must have been just beyond it and did not know it. Pete must have found the same thing.
Wed. March 30, 1977
Borrowed 3 undertaker’s books from Infirmary, copied down as many dates and numbers as could be found, made copies of some of the sheets at Copy Boy.
Bern made list according to number showing date of death, another list according to date of death, and made a plot map to use if we could not find the gravesite April 2nd. We would be able to mark any we found, get the pattern and know if we were in the right area .
Back to top
Sat. April 2
Joe and Tess., Bernie and Marie and Bern and I went to Dewjttville, rain held off, but windy. We had uncovered 16 stones week before, and in all today’s total made it 75. Theresa found #117, and our list indicated #114 should be and in fact was 5 stones over. Bernie went directly to it, uncovered it and found it. Theresa said she thought he was joking, it was so soon after she found 117, until she noticed Bernie crossed himself. Bernie marked area with a paper cup on a bush to show where it was located. It was near (about 5-6 feet away) the spot where we found the week before, that someone had been digging about a foot down and left two shovels and a hay fork, which we had used that day to probe and dig.
Dug until 2 p.m. when it was found; toured the area then at 4 p.m. we all went to S.C. to tell folks.
According to the pattern of burials there is no doubt but that is the exact spot we were looking for. The stone was down about 3-4 inches, so we were sure it hadn't been moved.
Joe, Bern and Bernie used a tree stump Joe found, and they replaced the monument on its pedestal; must have been dumped by vandals; couldn't have fallen by itself. Next week found the inscription.
Palm Sunday April 3,1977
Brought Dad and Mom Ark, Charlie and Rose Pinto and Jessie and son Fred Packard to the cemetery. Uncle Frank had a cold so he and Pat did not go. Folks brought can with artificial flowers; Mom took dirt from the area to put on Grandma's grave in Silver Creek.
Drove thru Lily Dale for Fred and Cassadaga for Jessie, as she hadn't been there in years; in fact had never gone thru Lily Dale, either.
By coincidence, near the next stone was a clump of daffodils ready to bloom. Since it was an abandoned cemetery, looked odd.
Mon. April 4,1977
Wrote to Tom Madigan at the Infirmary.
Aular looked up cemetery rulings in office and said a petition to the county court and order should be done; will do it before he leaves on vacation the 13th. Made copy of the page of the book.
Called Father Bilotta of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Silver Creek. Dad had spoken to him about the matter and during Monday had even mentioned it to Bill Minehan, one of the family who cares for the cemetery. Both thought it would be worked out to use top of Grandma Ark's grave site, without too much problem.
I called Priest, and he said if Minehans could manage it, could see no problem, especially if we used a child's case.
Called Peter Parker, S.C. undertaker; never had done anything like this before, but would see about the size and price of a child's box, wooden. Said a 1" pine box for ordinary size would be about $125.00 so child's size would be half, at least. Thought he could get one 1-1/2 ft. or 2 ft. high and maybe that would work. Then we would get ahold of the Minehans and they could say if it would fit.
Minehans line busy, so in the meantime Fr. Bilotta called me back at 7:30 and said he had spoken to the Minehans, who gave him more reasons against than for, moving the body in the first place, and also against using the top of the present grave site. Indicated "precedent" for the future. Told him even if I got specific instructions from Health Dept. I would have to abide by his cemetery rules, so would get theirs first, then get back to him, to see what we could work out, since this is an unusual situation, not removal of a whole body. Possibly would have to use whole lot, and use an undertaker, according to Minehans. New method of one on top of another would take 8 ft. but in this case, it's not the same.
Called Parker back to hold up on everything until we contacted him. He could see no reason why it could not be done, agreed the Minehans opinion must be only their opinion.
*(During this time Mrs. Patz filled out many forms she felt would be necessary in order for the disinterment to occur. She later found out that the only necessary item was Finkelstein's signature.)*
Thurs. April 14, 1977
Pete Parker called for information from the death certificate which shows the age as “about 47" even though it is wrong; was going to use the old form he had, although it did not have the spot for Comm. of Health of Chaut. County to sign it. He was going to call and maybe go in to Mayville for Town Clerk to see about a permit, and I told him to go at same time for Finkelstein to sign the form; he still is not realizing that Fink. has to sign it, as his form did not have a spot for it.
Gave him folks number to see if they bought a plot; needed a date for interment; told him to call Bern to see when he could get the remains; the date on the application has to be the date it is buried; cannot bury it before then.
Parker called Bern to verify date AFTER which burial could be completed. Bern gave date of Sat. April 23; when Pete obtains permission from Health Commissioner Finkelstein and permit to bury, Bern can disinter at Dewittville, and burial can be done at Silver Creek ON or AFTER April 23rd.
Mom and Dad contacted monument place; they have an appointment Friday evening with him for stone. They have appointment with Pat Minehan, Trustee (of church or cemetery?) as he is on vacation, at 10:30 to see what can be done; if unable to talk him into placing small box on one of the present graves, will have the priest's map and they will pick one out. They will call Bern to let him know whether plot or top of grave so he can contact Pete Parker to let him know how large the cement box should be.
Back to top
Wed. April 20,1977
Peter Parker called office. Services would be $25.00 for him and about $125.00 for the cement box. The plot and opening would be extra and should be paid Sat. if possible. Told Mom later in the day, so they would be ready with it.
Bern suggested planting a bush in place of stone 114; will pick up the box and the plant.
Thurs. April 21,1977
Called Dr. Finkelstein 753-4314; could go at my convenience, and she would call him out from a meeting he was in.
Called Mrs. Smith 753-7342. She said she talked to the Health Dept. and all that was needed was signature of Finkelstein and nothing from her, but when I got to Mayville he signed both forms and said she could give burial permit with whichever one she wanted. At first he thought as I did, something from Town of Chaut. Clerk, and permission of some kind from Hanover. But the burial permit eventually gets filed by the Sexton, or in this case, the Minehans at Hanover Town Clerk's office.
I asked to see the record Mrs. Smith used; she said if I had not given her the date she wouldn't have found it under Salvatore Arcadipane; it was Sam Ark in the index. Showed me the book and index.
Showed her and Everett Crandall, Town Supv. the photos of the cemetery; he worked there in 1947 and 48 and never knew there was a cemetery there; Finkelstein said he never knew of one, either. Also showed him the photos. Told him one of the relatives was sort of questioning the moving of the remains; he said “Let him question -- everyone should be where he is supposed to be,” or something to that effect. "Everyone should have a decent burial place.”
Finkelstein had another request right after ours last week; had one before ours. New one was someone on his staff who inquired.
Thurs. April 21,1977
Stopped to see Bern, then to Peter Parker's to give him the burial permit. Mrs. Smith gave me copy of the application and also permit.
He again mentioned the burial part should be paid Sat. so I asked him to give me a bill for Mom and Dad. He said the burial would only be $50.and from what I understood him to say, that would be for the plot and opening the grave. His services were still $25.00 and the box $120. Guaranteed for 25 years, child box, part metal, and part something else. Was a combination casket and vault. Said he had informed Minehans of the size. He has a seal he inserts and will be done at Dewittville when he gets there.
Asked him if I came on too strong with Minehans, although I only talked to them the once, and he implied it would be best not to make waves, since they were being so nice about it. I said I was only interested in knowing what changed their minds. but did not intend to pursue it.
Had waited until 1 p.m. to see Mom and Dad, as they weren't there a little after 11 when I got there the first time, so stopped at the luncheon site; weren’t there; forgot they had gone to the Dunkirk dentist in the a.m. They were getting ready to see the priest to pay him, so I gave the bill to them to see if there was any other charge besides the $50. Showed them the container, and picked up the snowball bush to plant on the grave.
Stopped to see Pete and show him photos. Gave photos to folks to show priest.
Everything seems to be going too smoothly.
Sat. April 23, 1977
Raining since Wed. evening. Waited until 8.30 before calling Pete Parker to see if o.k. to go ahead if opening already made by Minehans. He said the openings are done in any weather, and arrangements are ready for 3 p.m. I would call him from Dewittville and direct him to the Farm after Bern found anything.
Arrived Dewittville 9:30, Bern dug with the thought the slab was about in the middle of the grave. Could feel the ground was not completely solid, as if it had been dug before. Could see areas of soil that looked different from rest, indicating to him side of the area that was dug before. About 2 feet down, found slivers of wood. Three feet down, found outline of the box, about five to eleven.
Went to the store at corner, called Parker 11:40. Arrived 12:20. Called Mom to let her know and that we might be getting in before 3 p.m., so would call her on our way back so they would have 45 minutes to an hour before we got there.
About 11:40, Bern had remains in box, and Pete used sealer. He was surprised to see remains; (had never been to a disinterment before,) especially after so long. Mrs. Crocker had said Rev. War soldier had been buried 120 years and they found remains, and last week's paper published article where they found remains of two young men in an Indian burial area that was hundreds of years old, so we were not surprised. Bern stayed to cover opening and plant bush, and I returned with Parker.
Called Mom from phone booth at corner, and she said it had been too wet for Minehans to dig. Virginia had gone by, and called to tell her the cemetery had no hole there; she and Pete returned and verified it, and Mom called Minehans. They asked that Parker keep the box until they could dig.
Back to top
Sat. April 23, 1977
Left me off at my home, and I took car to S.C. to see folks and let them know what went on.
Priest wouldn't have been there at 3 p.m. anyway so he would have been at cemetery Sunday to bless the ground.
Sun. April 24, 1977
Mom called; Parker had phoned to see what arrangements had been made. After Mom had mentioned the family would have been available on Sat. if all had gone o.k. he suggested doing it on next Sat., but they decided to have it done when Minehans could dig the hole, and the priest could bless it at that time or later. Too hard for everyone to be around at same time during the week.
If burial had been done Sat., it would have been February 23rd when Tess mentioned it to me, and April 23rd when it was reinterred.
Monday, April 25, 1977
Arrangements will be made for 3 p.m. although priest will not be there.
An interesting side note - in all the confusion of where to place the remains in Silver Creek - it was discovered that there is an odd triangle plot of vacant land behind Grandma Jenny Arcadipane's headstone and the space was large enough and we received permission to bury her husband Salvatore's remains there and placed the 114 stone from Dewittville on top where it remains to this day - right behind her headstone.
May 25, 1977
Grass growing well on gravesite, well before Memorial Day.
Tues. May 24, 1977
Met Tom Madigan's secretary at Plaza. Hadn't recognized her week before at Top's Market. She was pleased with our results and was glad I recognized her and told her about it.
Bern's theory proved right; they buried a person, using a number not in numerical order, and also NOT buried next to the one buried previously, so the numbers would not be in order in the book, as to place of burial, only in order as to which stones were used. If several burials were made next to each other, they may have caved in.
When Tess found 117 and I said it was five away in one direction and Bernie found it five stones away, it must have been sheer luck, since those in between did not match the list in the book; must have been in another pattern. Won't know until we check again. In a few weeks it will be overgrown again and hard to check.
Back to top
Sat. May 27, 1978
Bern and I drove to Dewittville to check on cemetery and gravesite. The field to get to it was plowed and peas planted right up to the edge; area behind the trailers contained horses, fenced in. Campers there just beyond that, toward trailers.
Cemetery area so overgrown, it was completely covered with berry bushes; no evidence of a cemetery even being there. Corner post there, along with the old entrance posts, and the memorial that was put back up last year, also still standing.
Mound still evident once Bern located the bush near where the grave was located; bush (snowball) he planted from Mom Ark's yard must have been overcome by the underbrush, and not there. Artificial flowers still there. The bush had grown upward and outward, so if it had not been located last year, chances are it would not have been this year, although at this time of year everything had bloomed and was not as bare as when we were there in April last year.
One of the barns still has advertising signs for feed, fertilizer, etc. and one was the double "Patz, material
handling machinery" which must have been there before but we never.
The flat stone with 114 on it was cleaned off and placed on the grave in Silver Creek, just behind Grandma Ark's grave, last year.